Coronavirus concerns: Testing underway for passengers on cruise ship off California coast

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Officials in the Bay Area are preparing for the arrival of a cruise ship with thousands of people who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

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The cruise ship remains off the coast of California. It traveled from San Francisco to Hawaii and was supposed to stop in Mexico, but that leg of the trip was called off.

While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 currently on board, the CDC says there are fewer than 100 guests and crew who have been identified for testing. Passengers and crew who experienced influenza-like symptoms or respiratory illness will be tested. The testing kits have been flown out to the ship and then the batches will be taken to a lab in Richmond.

ABC7 News has made contact with a woman who is on board the ship.

Teresa Johnson shared audio with ABC7 News from inside the Grand Princess during a safety announcement Thursday morning.

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Passengers on a cruise ship that is being held off the coast of California are giving an update testing on coronavirus testing.



"A helicopter operation is about to take place, during this operation the open deck will be closed to persons not involved in the operation," announced an official. "Flash photography is strictly prohibited throughout the operation."

During the announcement the official also alerts everyone that some passengers will be evacuated from their cabins during the operation.

Public health officials have advised that no guests will be allowed to leave the ship until all results have been received.

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Princess Cruises says it's also canceling an upcoming Grand Princess Hawaii cruise departing on March 7.

"All guests will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, Princess Air, Princess Cruise Plus pre- and post-cruise hotel packages, prepaid shore excursions and other prepaid items purchased through Princess," the statement said.

Officials are also busy on land tracing the virus.

A 71-year-old man who died in Northern California from the coronavirus had been on the ship between Feb. 11 and Feb. 21.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says health officials are now tracing people who had contact with him.

He says they are also focusing on figuring out whether other passengers who are still on board have the virus.

RELATED: What to know about COVID-19, how it's affecting San Francisco Bay Area

The ship is carrying about 2,500 passengers on its current voyage.

The governor has declared a state of emergency.

They will look at these test results before they decide what to do with the ship.

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A ship carrying about 2,500 passengers remain held off of the coast of California over coronavirus concerns.



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